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Exports of natural gas from Libya to Europe are expected to be significantly lower this month compared to normal levels, due to a three-week maintenance program at the Mellitah Industrial Complex in the North African oil and gas producer.
The Mellitah Industrial Complex will begin a total shutdown to start renovation at the Mellitah complex, the Bahr Es Salam gas field, and the Wafa gas field, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) of Libya said this weekend.
NOC chairman Farhat Bengdara issued instructions for the renovations and maintenance of the gas-producing facilities, which were expected to begin on Monday, May 1.
“The NOC affirmed that all necessary arrangements have been prepared to compensate for the gas shortage during the stoppage period, and affirmed also the readiness of the work teams and the spare parts,” the Libyan state corporation said in a statement.
The maintenance will lead to a major slump in Libya’s natural gas production and exports, according to Argus.
The local subsidiary of Italian energy giant Eni said in April that natural gas supply from Libya to Italy would be “materially reduced and could potentially go to zero” between the end of April and May 25, due to maintenance at the gas fields and processing facilities.
Early this year, Eni’s chief executive Claudio Descalzi and NOC’s Bengdara agreed on the development of “Structures A&E”, a strategic project aimed at increasing gas production to supply the Libyan domestic market as well as to ensure export to Europe.
The overall investment is estimated at $8 billion, with a significant impact on the industry and the associated supply chain, allowing a significant contribution to the Libyan economy, the Italian group said.
Over the past year, Eni has been looking to Libya and other producers of gas in Africa to boost supply to Europe and replace Russian pipeline gas volumes.
Just last week, Eni launched the construction works for the first natural gas liquefaction project in the Republic of the Congo, which is expected to supply LNG to Europe.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com